The Rachel Papers, Amis’s first novel published in 1973 when he was twentyfour years old, signaled the arrival of a formidable new author. The book recounts the last five hours before the narrator, Charles Highway, turns twenty. Each of its twelve chapters starts off moving through these five hours but quickly turns its attention to the morass of papers (autobiographical and biographical, including “the Rachel Papers”) that recount or remind Charles of incidents from his past, returning the narrative to the present at the end of each chapter. The plot largely consists of two actions Charles self-consciously undertakes: Firstly, to obtain a place at Oxford (University) by attending a crammer (a school that prepares students for entrance examinations), and, second, to seduce Rachel, a girl whom he met at a party five months earlier. Although she has an American boyfriend with the “preposterous name” of DeForest (RP 223), Charles manages to lure Rachel away from him and to seduce her before growing disenchanted and callously breaking off their affair in the final chapter. He also learns in the last chapter that he has been accepted by Oxford. On the second page, Charles claims that he is undertaking the reconstruction of his recent past in order to, as he puts it, “ be able to locate my harmartia [Greek for “tragic flaw”] and see what kind of grown-up I shall make” (RP 4). This sentence alone reveals that Charles is intent on forcing his life and character to conform to a literary template, in this instance an Aristotelian one.